A career in trades has its own appeal, and if you like to repair things, a career as a diesel mechanic might be the one for you.
As a diesel mechanic (professionally known as a Diesel Technician), you can earn upwards of $25 hourly, and several overtime benefits come along.
But what are your duties as a diesel mechanic, how much can you make, and what is the job outlook? These are some questions you might have, and in this guide, you’ll get an answer to everything about diesel mechanics.
What is a Diesel Mechanic?
Diesel mechanics, or Diesel technicians, are specialized in dealing with diesel-powered machines and engines.
As a part of their job, these skilled technicians are required to maintain, inspect and repair diesel machines, engines, and heavy-duty trucks. They are also responsible for performing electrical checks or vehicle exhausts to ensure a vehicle is in an appropriate running condition.
Also, these professionals must offer penetrative maintenance of automobiles in terms of oiling or changing oils and rotating tires.
In most cases, diesel technicians can do their jobs at their workplaces (commonly known as repair shops).
However, in some instances, like breakdowns or maintenance, they are required to travel to the client’s locations. This profession demands significant physical exertion, and you must be mentally prepared.
Are Diesel Mechanics High In Demand?
Before starting a new career, you’re interested in the growth opportunities and job outlook. You want to make sure if joining this career will make sense or not, especially in the long term.
Let’s have a look at some figures.
According to the BLS, between 2021-2031, the demand for diesel mechanics is projected to grow by 4%, with 28,500 job openings projected to be added yearly. Over 300,000 Diesel Mechanic Jobs were available in the year 2022 for Diesel Mechanics.
The growth in diesel mechanics’ jobs is at par with the national average. Workshops and OEM companies are always looking for skilled mechanics who’re willing to work hard and can be trusted with repair & maintenance.
Skills You Need To Be A Diesel Mechanic
The demand for diesel mechanics is clearly there, but what skills a diesel tech is required to have? Here are the top skills that are required –
- Proficiency in engine maintenance & repair.
- Physical strength
- Aware of basic mathematical abilities
- Analytical approach to challenges
- A close eye on details
- Open to new learnings
- Brilliant communication skills
If you are willing to get into the pool of diesel mechanics, you will have to work on the above-mentioned skills, plus as you gain experience, you’ll have to keep adding to your skill set.
This could mean sharpening your management skills (as you lead a team of technicians) or financial planning (If you choose to start your own repair shop).
Diesel Mechanic Job Duties (Roles & Responsibilities of a Diesel Technician)
Here are the top duties or tasks that Diesel Mechanics are responsible for –
- Repairing diesel engines, water pumps, alternators, brakes, clutches, etc.
- Installing and rebuilding hydraulic systems in bigger vehicles and cylinders
- Changing oils, wiring, and troubleshooting hydraulic issues in automobiles.
- Ensuring preventive maintenance repairs of heavy vehicles.
- Maintaining driveline and brake components of trucks and tractors.
- Diagnosing and performing repairs of system failures.
- Inspecting and adjusting the wheels of the vehicles as needed.
- Analyzing vehicles’ performances with the help of test drives.
- If you want to know more about job duties and skills required as a diesel tech, you can check this out.
Check out our in-depth guide on Diesel Mechanic Duties: What does a diesel mechanic do?
Diesel Mechanic Salary and Its Comparison to Other Trade Professions
Now, let’s look at the salary you can expect as a diesel mechanic.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the average annual salary for Diesel Mechanics to be $48,690, or $23.41 per hour.
The salaries vary depending on where you live. Let’s take a look at the top five highest-paying states for Diesel mechanics:
- Washington- $63,760 per year or $30.65 per hour
- Massachusetts- $62,500 per year or $30.05 per hour
- Alaska- $62,350 per year or $29.98 per hour
- Connecticut- $61,890 per year or $29.76 per hour
- California- $61,040 per year or $29.35 per hour (Diesel Mechanic Salary California)
Let’s further compare and see how a Diesel Mechanic’s average salary differs from that of other trade professions:
- Diesel Mechanic/Specialists- $53,020 per year
- Welding Technician- $47,010 per year
- HVAC Technician– $48,360 per year
- Solar Installer- $46,670 per year
- Electrical Technician- $60,040 per year
- Plumbing Technician- $59,880 per year
As you can see, the average diesel technician salary is at the higher end compared to other professions in the trades.
How To Become A Diesel Mechanic?
So the demand is there, and you know how much you can make as a diesel technician. But how do you become a diesel mechanic?
There are three main steps toward becoming a Diesel Mechanic –
As per the stats, around 7.0% of diesel mechanics or technicians hold a bachelor’s degree, and almost 1.2% of individuals hold a master’s degree.
Enrolling in any of these programs requires a high school diploma or GED.
An associate degree takes about two years, and the enrollment cost is really high. Instead, you can choose an online training program that teaches you the ins and outs of Diesel Tech.
An online program will help you start your career faster. They are considerably cheaper than an associate diesel mechanic degree or technical school diploma.
We recommend joining an online diesel technician training program if you want to avoid student loan debt and complete your training faster.
Next, once you complete your diesel mechanic school, you need to get certified. ASE, or National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, offers different certifications for Diesel Mechanics.
Being a certified Diesel Mechanic builds trust in the eyes of an employer and could help you land a better-paying job. If you’re starting out, you can choose to get entry-level certifications, like the G.1 offered by ASE. (Read More: Diesel mechanic certifications)
Finally, before you start working, it’s recommended to have some experience under your belt. But how can you get experience if you’re starting out?
This is where an internship or externship comes in. Many training programs help in arranging an externship for their students. This can help newbie mechanics get some hands-on training and a feel of what it’s like to work as a Diesel Tech.
And if you enroll in an online program, getting hands-on training through an externship is necessary.
Where Can You Work as a Diesel Mechanic?
Finally, let’s look at where you can find work as a Diesel Tech.
Here are the top places that hire Diesel Mechanics –
- OEMs or the original equipment manufacturers like Caterpillar, Cummins, Yanma
- Construction & Logistic Companies
- Local Diesel Repair Workshops
- Diesel Mechanic Apprenticeship
Ultimately, any company that deals with diesel-powered automobiles might require the services of a Diesel Mechanic.
A career as a Diesel Mechanic can prove to be rewarding. The demand is clearly there, and you can work your way up to earn upwards of $50,000 annually.
You don’t need to enroll in expensive degree programs, as most employers seek certifications and experience. If you’re willing to work hard and don’t mind the grind of a diesel mechanic career, you can definitely pursue it.